Alba and I woke early to catch our bus heading south. Despite the darkness surrounding us as we waited on the curb with our bags, we were awake and excited to start the journey. Our bus driver was a girl named Chase, and she motored us along the highway toward our destination of Raglan through the light sprinkling of rain that was falling in Auckland. Could this be an auspicious Hawaiian blessing?
Before hitting the surf-town of Raglan, we visited Waireinga or Bridal Veil Falls. Chase said it was just a 10 minute walk to see the waterfall so just about everyone hopped off the bus. Some used this opportunity to stretch their legs. Some used it as a much-needed smoke break. Myself and a few others raced along the path to see the waterfall in all its glory.
After seeing some amazing falls in Oz, this one had to be jaw-droppingly spectacular to win my vote. To my surprise, it was a pretty decent-sized representative due to many nights of recent rain in the area.
Our small group of four waterfall aficionados continued on the path as it steeply wove its way down. I was looking forward to seeing the waterfall in its entirety from the misty bottom but was a bit wary of having to climb back up to the top. I decided to do it anyway, because when would I be able to see this again? Surprisingly, not many others chose to do the same.
After a brisk walk to the bottom and a few minutes of gazing at the waterfall, I looked around to find I was the last one at the waterfall. Wishing I could stay longer, I began the trek that would lead me back to the bus. For the first few minutes, it didn’t seem as daunting as I thought. I was calmly making my way back up the many flights of stairs and switchbacks at what I’d consider to be a brisk pace. However, soon my legs were burning and my lungs were huffing and puffing. It seemed that I was no closer to the end of the line than when I began, and to my dismay, it started raining. I didn’t see any of my busmates on the trail, so they were probably comfortably (as much as you can I suppose) sitting back on the bus and out of the rain.
Just when I began cursing Waireinga and the lure of its natural beauty, the path began to level off and I knew I was nearing the trail head. At least there was a lot of trees that covered the path and protected me from getting soaking wet. After a few more minutes of mumbling about how much I hated hiking, I saw the bus in the parking lot.
When we were all back aboard the bus, Chase moseyed us on toward Raglan and our overnight stop. We could only spare about 30 minutes in the town, but honestly, that’s all I really needed. From what I could tell, the town was just one street with shops on either side of it. I quickly made the circuit and found only one shop that was interesting to me. It was one of those fair trade shops that sold products made by disadvantaged people from all over the world. I spent most of my time browsing around inside, even though I knew I wouldn’t be able to buy anything. Besides the hefty price tags, I just didn’t have the room in my bag to carry anything else.
That night we stayed at a hostel tucked within what seemed to be a rainforest-like environment. The buildings were all made of wood, which gave the entire place a back-to-basics feel. There were three levels of buildings built into the side of a mountain and the lush trees surrounded us. For dinner, Chase offered to make us spaghetti with kumara and garlic bread for a mere $5 buy in and dish washing duties. Kumara tasted a lot like sweet potato and is apparently a part of the Kiwi, especially Maori, diet. What we got was a delicious and filling meal for cheap, so I think we walked away winners in that arrangement.